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David Diskin: Religion should be kept out of the workplace

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Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2013 2:30 pm

The News-Sentinel asked: According to a recent survey, more than a third of Americans report that their religion has not been accommodated in the workplace, or they’ve witnessed religion not being properly accommodated. How should workers respond when they feel their beliefs are not being respected at work?

Employees who are harassed (or worse) because of their religious beliefs (or lack thereof) need to step forward, but I can understand why they might decide not to. Sometimes it is easier to simply let your employer exert their influence and avoid the hassle of an argument or the risk of termination. I would never insist that someone put their family’s welfare at risk over an ideological dispute.

It should be noted that religious intolerance takes all forms. Non-believers make up an estimated 20 percent of the workplace, but the religious majority often neglects to accommodate these employees. These issues can range from the benign (a Christmas party with overtly spiritual music and imagery) to the shameful (harassment or proselytization), to the outright despicable (restricting health care and financial benefits).

In my few years as an activist for secularism, I have even met some who have had their jobs terminated because of their non-religious worldview – and yes, right here in Lodi.

Religion has a place in home and church. But, just like politics, religion should be kept out of the workplace. I would encourage any non-believer who feels they have been disrespected at work to contact the Stockton Area Atheists and Freethinkers.

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